Ferreira Fest 26

published February 2012

Please note: Links in this post may no longer work - availability on the web changes quickly. Please report any broken or expired links to admin@louisferreira.org. Thanks!

Ferreia Fest 26 - The Birthday Edition, Part 1

Welcome to Ferreira Fest 26 - The Birthday Edition! Today is Louis Ferreira's 45th birthday and we have a huge party with news, soundclips, your questions answered, old photographs and an extensive interview with a very special man who was one of Louis' early mentors. Grab a free pineapple drink at the bar and come on in!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOUIS!



This will be the longest newsletter yet, as we have a lot of ground to cover, so I'm splitting it into three parts because LJ choked on the sheer quantity of material!

First off - thanks to everyone who posted birthday wishes or sent a card - I'm sure we did all we could to make this a special day for Louis.

Since many of you have asked - we are working on getting Louis back to Dragon*Con this year (the process is immensely complicated and his rep is doing her very best while also looking at other con visits in the futue), so stay tuned! The Stargate Multiverse Track people certainly want Louis back and have placed him on the top of their wishlist.

News

Bradley Stryker, producer of the short film "A Weekend to Remember" which Louis did in 2010 reports that the movie has been entered at the SOHO International Film Festival! Let's keep our fingers crossed that it does well and racks up a few more honors. Some of you may remember Bradley as the ill-fated Sgt. Curtis from Stargate Universe. Bradley has been busy making movies, and several of them have included SGU alumni.

Updates

I'm happy to report that IMDb, The Internet Movie Database, has updated Louis' page with all the Mazda commercials voiceovers. Also, a new credit has surfaced there, a series of small voiceovers he did in 1994 for an animated series called Monster Force. The first 7 episodes are available on Amazon.com.

The FF website now also includes a counter so you can see how many free pineapple drinks we hand out every month. Each guest is entitled to one free pineapple drink per day, so please visit often! Thanks to kimmy4eytj  for the counter!

Kimmy's Corner

This month kimmy4eytj  has made over 300 sceencaps from the Hidden Hills pilot episode for you! Thanks so much, Kimmy, this was an awful lot of work and the caps are fantastic!



Featured Guest

And now - a drumroll, please - here is the interview with Greg Allen, who was one of Louis' early mentors and big supporters. Please join me in thanking Mr. Allen for taking the time to talk to Ferreira Fest and sharing his memories with us, and of course thanks to Louis for putting us in touch. And I can't thank csiguci  enough fo the meticulous transcript - she literally spent entire days typing away. You can listen to the interview by downloading the four parts here:

part 1 
part 2 
part 3 
part 4 

All photos are courtesy of Mr. Allen, as he was kind enough to share some of the gems of his personal collection with us. Enjoy!

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FF: Hi Greg, this is Bea from Ferreira Fest and we are going to record our conversation for a transcript, and I legally have to ask you for your consent, so here’s your bit.

GA: Ok, no problem, go ahead.

FF: Ok, great.

GA: … record.

FF: All right, let’s start with something very simple, because people at Ferreira Fest have no clue who you are. So tell us a little about yourself, we’ll get to Louis in a little bit, but who you are, what you do, tell us a little bit about yourself.

GA: Well, I have been a teacher for 40 years or so, I’ve taught English and Drama, Latin, Classical Studies, Co-op Ed, and there is something else in there as well and I cannot remember what. Anyway, that’s what I have been doing with my time for the last 40 years, and actually that’s how I came across Louis.

FF: Are you retired now or are you still teaching?

GA: I retired – well, I supposedly retired at the turn of the century. That was my millennium gift to myself, but I just found I liked my job, so I kept going back. So this is the first full year that I have not done some sort of teaching.

FF: Aha.

GA:  Yeah. Even then, you know, I did some work or I have been doing some work with the University of Toronto on a couple of studies they have been working on. But I, as of now, I am pretty much totally retired and getting on with other things.

FF: That sounds great.  I have a list of questions, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just go down the list …

GA: Sure.

FF: … and then you can go off on any tangent you like… All right, let’s start with - when did you first meet Louis? What grade or what age? Was it a play that you did or how did you run into him?

GA: Well, none of these things actually, I had gone on a teaching exchange to England and the year I came back – that would have been 1984, I was teaching a grade 12 level Dramatic Arts class at the C. W. Jefferys Secondary School, which is in the West End of Toronto, and Louis was in my class. And it was a class that, you know, they wanted a lot of creative drama taught and I never had any skill with teaching that, so I was going with scene study, and character analysis and all those sorts of things, and it was in that class that I got to watch Louis work. At the end of that year, I bought myself a house and I moved, and since I was… I was pretty close to a lot of my senior level students, and I got a group of them to help me move my furniture from my apartment over by the school into my house, and Louis was one of the ones who helped me move. Well, we got into the house here, and the basement room, in which I am sitting right now, was a completely unfinished room. It was leaky walls and the smell of damp. It was rather dungeon-like to be honest, and he looked around, “Wow, what a big space you’ve got down here. This is great! If you finish that off, I’ll rent it from you.” And I thought, “Well, OK, why not.” And so that’s how we began an affiliation. I guess that at the same time, as that was toward the end of the year, in the earlier part of that year I directed a school play, which was Anything Goes

FF: Oh, really? Okay!

GA: Yeah, and you know, a 1930s I guess, isn’t it, song and dance kind of silly musical, but it was great fun to do for a high school, and he had the … one of the leads, and he was acting and singing and yeah, that’s how I got to know him.

FF: And you directed Anything Goes?

GA: Yeah.

FF Okay. I had no idea that Louis had ever done a musical, so this is a great surprise to me.

GA: Actually he does not have a bad voice.

FF: I know he doesn’t, yeah.

GA: I remember there is this one very very difficult song in that play, called All Through the Night

FF: Uhum, yeah, I am familiar with the show.

GA: An atonal ballad kind type of thing. I kept telling him it sounded like a cow lowing in the pasture, and he hated doing it, but I wasn’t gonna cut it, because it was in the script and I wanted to do the full thing, you know.

FF: Right.

GA: But I tease him about that one. But yeah, he’s got a good voice.

FF: Well, he also sang – well rapped a little bit in The Trial of Red Riding Hood, which is this bizarre thing that I am still trying to figure out what the heck it even is, but he played a rapping pig in that. We actually talked about it a couple of weeks ago and got such a kick out of it. But it’s a hard piece to find, because it is only out on video tape…

(cut: technical issues with telephones)

All right. So we know that it was Anything Goes, it was a musical that you worked with him and there was the thing with the house. Can you tell us a little bit about the challenges he faced at that time?

GA: Yeah. Um, that area in the city, well, here they know it as the Jane-Finch Corridor, and any time you hear that phrase here, it means subsidized housing, a great deal of violence, dysfunctional families.

FF: Right, right.

GA: Or partial families, you know, all that sort of stuff going on. It’s the kind of neighborhood where you don’t walk in the park after dark.

FF: Right. I’m a little bit familiar with Toronto. I used to work in Canada for many years. It’s been 3 or 4 years since I have been there. But I’m familiar with the area in Toronto.

GA: It’s a rough area in many ways, and yet you know I loved working out there, because the kind of kids you deal with and the parents that you deal with generally speaking were very grateful for any advantages to give their kids. Hard working working class families, and they really appreciated if you were trying to do your job.

FF: Right.

GA: And in a classroom situation most of the kids made sure you were doing your job. It wasn’t easy on many days.

FF. Yeah, I bet.

GA: But it’s been rewarding.

FF: Yeah.

GA: So it was that sort of thing. And he was living with his mom, and I think his sister, his youngest sister was still there at the time. His father had died I think when he was 11.

FF: Right, yes, uhum.

GA: That goes back a long way. So he was very athletic and into all that sort of stuff, but… he wanted out to be honest. He wanted out of the neighborhood. He couldn’t – he wanted some grounding. But you never know… I don’t think there was any problem other than the economic situation.

FF: Yeah, his circumstances. Absolutely. Just the circumstances. Yeah.

GA: Yeah. Yeah.

FF: So you coached him as a drama teacher mostly?

GA: Yeah.

FF: Were you a vocal coach or an acting coach or what was your role in that class?

GA: it was just the class and the production we were working on. I mean I‘m a high school teacher, I’m not a registered or fully accredited acting teacher.

FF: Right, you know we work a lot with high school teachers around here, and a lot of these people really should be elsewhere because they are doing such a fantastic job, and some of the kids that I get,  it’s like “Oh, my god, how can we even match up to that?” But I guess once again it depends on what school you are going to and what environment you are in…

GA: And what your focus is.

FF: Exactly.

GA: You know, I was more concerned with getting kids focused on, well, analyzing a character: looking at the details of the… where they were and who they were, not just who the character was that they were working on.

FF: Uhum.

GA: But, you know, just taking the time to step back and think a little bit more deeply than they normally do. And to put them at ease as well. I mean, you know, if you are in a high school situation you’ve got kids coming in either completely wound up from a gym class or completely tuned down because they’ve come from an algebra class.

FF: Right.

GA: And they are all mixed up together so you’ve got a multitude of tasks to perform in the one class.

FF: Right, right. What was it that made you believe in Louis and support him in that way? What did you see in him? I mean, some people call it talent or drive or whatever, but what did you see in Louis that made you think he’s special? Or this is a person that really needs the support?

GA: I think it was his enthusiasm. I mean, he was clearly energetic. I mean, you know him now he’s certainly a strong personality.

FF: Oh, yes.

GA: He is hardly a wallflower. And that was always the way. He was always energetic. But boy, when he came into the drama class, he was ready to do it, as long as he did not have to reveal too much. (end of part 1) So, uh, you know, he was the showman. But at first it was a showman but with not so much backing it up. I remember one assignment I gave them. And it was to create a character based on themselves, though not themselves.

FF: Aha.

GA: Okay. And I wanted them thinking about who they were, what their values were, how they think they come across to other people etc. etc. etc., and create a character out of that. And it was a monologue. And, he came up with a dynamite monologue, and it blew everybody away, because it was just so insightful and sensitive and just well, well done.

FF: Aha.

GA: But it turns out his girlfriend had written it for him. (laughs) Because he wasn’t having any of that turning inside thing at that stage—that was grade 12. But you could tell that the potential was there. He had the outgoing personality and the talent to perform it, and when push came to shove, yeah, you knew that there was a great deal more sort of boiling under the surface—bubbling there that could be accessed.

FF: Right.

GA: If not by me, then by his girlfriend or by somebody else who could just sort of give him a nudge to bring it out.

FF: So, Louis ended up renting the room from you then after you finished it? ‘Cause he mentioned something like he lived in your basement—he mentioned that to me at some point.

GA: Yes, he did. He was there for, oh gosh, three or four years.

FF: Oh my goodness.

GA: Oh, yeah, yeah. So I saw his career develop from Elmer The Safety Elephant on to his first couple of movies.

Ferreira Fest 26 - The Birthday Edition, Part 2

Interview with Greg Allen, continued



FF: Right. Were you a mentor to him during that time? Did he come to you for advice during those first couple of years?

GA: I would say so in a number of different ways, because he would bring scripts home for auditions and so on and he’d say. “I need somebody to read off.”

FF: Oh, okay.

GA: So, we would work on the scripts and I would take all the other parts, and we’d go through it and then talk about it until he got it the way he wanted it. And sometimes this might be 3 o’clock in the morning…

FF: Yes.

GA: .. it could be 8 o’clock at night. Could be anytime—whenever he came in. There were a few times when he came upstairs and flicked on my light in my bedroom at two or three in the morning: “Greg, Greg, I’m having trouble with the script, you gotta help me.” So we were up, moved into the living room and then going at the script. So, I mean that sort of thing happened all the time.

FF: Yeah.

GA: So I was getting good training in acting myself at that point.

FF: Isn’t that the truth, though, you really learn about something the moment you have to teach somebody.

GA: Yes, exactly.

FF: It is absolutely true.

GA: Yeah. I remember one incident with my next door neighbor. It was on a probably May or June – a warm night anyway, all the windows were open. And he had a scene and I figured that if I’m going to be helping him with his part I’d best put as much umph as I possibly can into the parts that I am reading. Well, it was a fight scene between I guess father and son or something like that. And, well, we were just pulling out the stops. You’ve got to remember it was the middle of the night with the windows all open. Well, my neighbor told me (laughs)… the next day or two days that she was not sure whether she should be calling the police or not. (laughs)

FF: Oh, my god.

GA: Because we were clearly animated over this thing and the voices were up and the volume was up, and it was echoing around us—around her house anyway. That was the sort of stuff that went on.

FF: That’s pretty good feedback right there, I mean if they‘re about to call the police…

GA: I thought maybe I was in the wrong profession.

FF: There you go. (laughs)

GA: I should’ve gone to the audition with him.

FF: Why didn’t you? Why did you never do it?

GA: Nah, I think you learn fairly early where your talent lies.

FF: Uhum.

GA: And I’ve done some community theater, community television that sort of stuff, but I was never particularly good at it and I wasn’t particularly relaxed at it, so it’s a bit of a stressful thing for me. The teaching—I was in the right spot. Teaching was what I loved to do and what I felt most competent doing. So you know that’s where you go. If you’re lucky you find out what it is you do well and then stick to it for all your work.

FF: Right. As you watched Louis’ career develop, and obviously you’ve seen pretty much the whole range of it from the beginning, what role or genre do you feel really showcased his talents best?

GA: Well, you know that’s an interesting question, because for years and in the earlier part of the years, he was always sort of the James Dean type. That was the look that he had and that was the parts they gave him.

FF: Right.

GA: And they’ve given him an awful lot of nasty characters if you remember Durham County or, you know, some of the movies that he has done he is the villain, the murderer, the narcotic. But there was—and yeah, he can play those things really well, because he’s got an edge that he can tap into.

FF: Uhum.

GA: But what I don’t think too many people have seen or enough people have seen are the roles such as—are you familiar with Hidden Hills?

FF: Oh, yes!

GA: I loved that!

FF: I do too.

GA: And if you wanna know what Louis is like, that is the character that is closest to him.

FF: Yeah, I adore Hidden Hills, and it’s so hard to find. I finally got it off somebody who actually taped it at the time and, so I was able to get a copy of it, but of course I don’t know if you are familiar with—if you are aware of that the last four episodes that they made of this show have never been released, not even shown on TV, and it’s such a shame, because it was such a wonderful, wonderful show. And it was so sweet, honest, and heartfelt, and funny, funny, funny. 

GA: And very very funny. Yes. Absolutely. But that’s a side of Louis that they don’t seem to tap into as much as they should.

FF: The comedy part?

GA: The comedy part.

FF: Mmhmm.

GA: Yeah. Because I think he can play it really well.

FF: I mean anybody who knows Louis knows how much he likes to have fun and clown around, just to have fun. But he can also play that really well. He just kind of has that easy-going… it takes a special person to do comedy, because not everybody can do the embarrassingly funny things and still be honest about it.

GA: That’s right. And have the sense of timing to pull it off.

FF: Exactly.

GA: So many things are going on at the same time when you’re doing comedy, but to go from Durham County to Hidden Hills to uh… perhaps I just lost the name here. Never get older, because you start losing names.

FF: Oh, I’m there, Greg. I’m there.

GA: Trump. That’s what it was, Donald Trump. You know all of these—he’s got a real range that he can do, because he is submersing himself in the character, in the role.

FF: Right. Now one of our fanclub members wanted to know whether you feel that changing his stage name to his real name, back to his real name, will hinder his career. And why or why not you think that way?

GA: Hm. I wondered about him doing that at the first place. But then I don’t think ultimately it will. I mean I’m with him on his thinking on that, because he’s not the usual sort of actor wanting to go Hollywood, and you know, have that whole scene. He wants to have a real life. His prime focus is his kids, and he’s proud of where he comes from.

FF: Right.

GA: Proud of his family, and his mother, and his background. And I think by changing his name back to his real name he’s acknowledging that and the time is right for that, too because we’re in an age when names that are European or different, are not shunned like they were.

FF: Right.

GA: And it’s a more real depiction of who he is, I think. And he feels more comfortable with it. You know, I think that’s a really important thing.

FF: Right. Well, we were just talking last week and he had joked about how on IMDb, which I am in the process of updating here and there, that he only had two credits to his name at age 45 and he thought that was hysterically funny. Because you know, he had a career, and he’s got like 98 listed now on IMDb and he just thought it was the funniest thing ever, that as Louis Ferreira he has only got two credits to his name.

GA: I think it will build, because I was talking to him after he went back to California last weekend and he was getting some good feedback from his latest performance on NCIS.

FF: Oh, yeah, nothing but good stuff.

GA: Nothing but good stuff on that. And you know I think people who have worked with him know him rather than Justin Louis or Louis Ferreira, you know it’s the person they have been working with that they all recognize again, I hope.

FF: Well, I mean his work speaks for itself. You watch him in whatever role you want and you do realize this is because he is a good actor. And I guess more and more … well, when you get a reputation people sort of figure out that Justin Louis is really Louis Ferreira and vice versa, and people start making that connection, which is one of the reasons why I’ve been working on that IMDb thing and trying to make sure that he’s credited as the right person, because sometimes they also misspell his name as Justin Lewis, so I’ve been trying to clean up those records. And there is another Justin Louis—Louis Ferreira out there who is a field advisor for one movie ever, so I have no idea who that is. And then the people who listed the NCIS episodes created a whole new Louis Ferreira, so all of a sudden there were three. I was like, OK, how am I gonna fix that?

GA: How to bring them all together?

FF: Yeah, it was finally when one of the administrators contacted me, and I was like, “Look, here’s what happened.” And so they came up with the idea of merging two of the Louis Ferreiras together. It was just the most bizarre thing, but I could not get any publicity out about it, because it did not show up on any of his records as a show, because there was a third Louis Ferreira on whose records it showed up at, and nobody was looking at that file. So it took me several weeks to get that straightened out so that I could get some press releases out there and post it on various websites, because there was just no record. As far as they were concerned it did not exist. So that was just really weird, and I am hoping that with the exposure of NCIS stuff like that won’t happen anymore.

GA: You know there were, there’s been other people who have made name changes along the way as well without too much kafuffle.

FF: Right.

GA: As you say the performance stands for itself.

FF: Right.

GA: It’s the face people will recognize.

FF: Exactly. Exactly. Is there any, maybe a funny memory that you would like to share with us?

GA: (laughs) There are all sorts of them. I mean if (laughs) —can you imagine having Louis living in your house for three years and not have a funny story or two? (laughs) (end of Part 2) We played tricks on each other at one point—for various stages. I mean the first time he went away for a movie—I guess it was Prom Night 2. Prom Night 2?

FF: Yes. Yeah.

GA: You know then, Edmonton, and that was his first movie, right?

FF: Oh, that was shot in Edmonton?

GA: It was done in Edmonton, yes.

FF: Ah, okay.

GA: Yeah. And he was all excited about it, because he was going out there for a movie, and was getting first billing, and all the rest of it. And he was quite carried away with it. Well, while he was away, I went down into his room and I set the whole room up as a kind of shrine to Louis Ferreira—or Justin Louis in those days… 

FF: Yeah, yeah.

GA: …and put the red cord across the doorway with the sign post, “Here is where his sweaty sneakers stand” and so on, “The famous actor” etc. etc.

FF: Great!

GA: When he came back, his room had been turned into a museum and he got quite a charge out of that. It was that sort of things that we would do. I remember at one point—Christmas time. He wasn’t too familiar with the kinds of Christmas traditions that WASPs like me involve themselves in. You know the food, and the turkey, and all the rest of this thing. Well, how did it happen? I remember carving into the turkey and finding that there were notes inside that he had written.

FF: Oh, my God.

GA: I can’t remember exactly what it was for, but I sort of broke up at the--I did not know how he got them in there or why or anything else, but I started unwrapping things, you know, this little message about - I don’t know - maybe how the poor turkey is as stuffed as we will be by the time we finish it.

FF: Great!

GA: You know that sort of thing. Silliness like that.

FF: That’s great! That sounds wonderful!

GA: Yeah. I think that was one of the things that he liked about living here, because we were able to do that. I think that kind of interplay between an adult figure and whatever – older brother figure, father figure, whatever you wanna call it, was something that was new to him and that he had missed.

FF: Right. I mean losing your dad at age 11 - there is a void somewhere there.

GA: Yeah, it’s a crucial age.

FF: Yeah, absolutely. Any touching memories that you remember?

GA: Hm… I think probably much more recently when his mother died. He was deeply, deeply affected by that. And again the sense of gratitude that he has for her, because she was a Portuguese woman who worked very hard all her life for her kids at her own expense. And, you know, he was obviously in tears… he will tear up about that even now. But its, so it’s a real sensitive part of him for his mom, for his sister, certainly for his children...

FF: Yeah.

GA: Particularly for the children.

FF: Yes, we had some talks about that so it’s—there’s a lot of facets to Louis that can pop up pretty much all of a sudden. It’s just layers upon layers. It’s fascinating to talk to him. Now, my last question on my list is: what was your reaction when Louis asked you to do this interview?

GA: (laughs) Well, it was basically, “What? Why are you thinking of it? Why would you want that?” But no, I wasn’t really surprised by him to be honest. I think one of the first interviews that he did for the Toronto Star, for one of the entertainment magazines up here, he got the subject around to how grateful he felt toward me for giving him an insight into a different way of living or a different kind of life that he had in the Jane-Finch area.

FF: Right.

GA: I live in a very middle class, nice part of the city. And that was all new to him and he just, you know, he was just totally grateful. And he gives me praise for far more that I have ever done. So you know for him to suggest that you talk to me is simply an extension of that. It’s him acknowledging, if you like, anything that he thinks I have done for him.

FF: Well, it was when we started to talk about what we could do, he really wants to participate in the fan club and be accessible and share and be involved. And that was totally his idea. That was one of the first things he said that he would ask you to do that, to see if you were interested. And I was like, “It sounds like a great idea. You go for it. And just let me know. And we’ll figure it out from there.”

GA: Yeah, yeah.

FF: Well, I’m at the bottom of my list, Greg, so if there is anything else you wanna throw out at me, now is the time.

GA: Well, I suppose one of the things that—when I was talking to Louis the last time he said there was a… what he is about now, as you said, he is 45, with two credits to his name as (laughs), but many credits to another character. Um, he is really very interested in putting back into society and helping young people himself, doing that sort of volunteer work. Now how is your organization helping with that?

FF: That was one of the things we had discussed when we met last year, because he didn’t know he had a fan club. Because the whole thing was completely unofficial. I just started it on my own a couple of years back and people started flocking to it, and it sort of became this little community, and I have no way of telling how many people are really involved, cause I know only the people who post on the website, or ask questions, or something. So when I mentioned to him that I was sort of running his unofficial fan club, he just completely—I still remember his face: complete shock. He had no idea. And I said, “Well, you know, you’ll be here a couple of days, I’ll be here a couple of days. Maybe we can talk about it, make the whole thing official.” And, then it was—he was finished with a photo opportunity and we were sitting on the opposite end of the hotel in this big atrium, and he saw us sitting there, and he kinda waved and came over. And he just sat down with us right there on the floor and we started to talk about what we could do to make it official. I said, well, one of the things—I worked on the fan clubs of various other people—one of the things that most fan clubs do to show their gratitude towards the person in question is charity work. And, I said, I’m very interested in starting up something like that for him if he had an idea of what kind of charity he would be interested in. So, I gave him a couple of examples of other clubs I have been involved in, what kind of charities they picked, but it was important to me that he pick, you know, that it was a cause that he wanted for us to represent. And he knew immediately that he wanted to do something with helping children and that it was extremely important to him and his life. So we had a long conversation about that. And I said, well, that’s great and, we’ll gonna go ahead and start looking at that. So I put the word out and various members of the fan club started researching that. I have some research fiends in this group, trust me. There are some mad research skills. And I—we came up with a list of about 12 charities that help abused children in the Toronto area, so we wanted to specifically find something that was relevant. But what was also really encouraging for all of us is that he is at a point now where he wants to help. And help others in that predicament, and use whatever influence he might have to raise funds or be helpful in that particular respect. And to me that was just really wonderful if somebody has an actual personal stakes in the matter. And it’s not just like “I’m interested in that, so let’s support that charity.” But something like “I know exactly what these kids are going through,” or “I know what it’s like and I want to help,” “This is the kind of help I wished I’d had, or I did get and how much it helped me.” So we were talking about that and so I just sent him a list of about a dozen charities and he is hopefully looking through them, doing his homework. So there were links, to websites and everything, so he can look through them and we’re gonna go through it and see which ones he is interested in contacting and I am more than happy to do the legwork for him for that, and we have some plans … what kind, how to raise funds, with autographs, with phone calls, he says he wants to do whatever I tell him to do in terms to raise the funds. But he also wants to not just to send money to some charity, he wants to specifically help a child, maybe one year we’d sponsor one child and then the next year maybe two children or something, and hopefully it’ll grow from there. So that’s sort of his plan, very focused help, make a difference in one person’s life at first and then see how far we can go from there. And to me that’s very different from most celebrities that I’ve worked with, who just said, “well, we just donate to this and that society and let them run with it. Here’s the money.” But he’s very interested in knowing what happens to that money and who exactly is helped by that.

GA: He wants to be very hands-on, I think.

FF: Yeah, absolutely. And as I said, we’ll do whatever, and we’ll work on it together, and he’s just reviewing that. To that end, I’ve also gotten ownership of the web domain louisferreira.org, specifically with the .org extension, which is a charity extension. And so that really--he really liked that idea just that in his website’s name it’s already sort of the charity aspect already in there.

GA: So the association is already in the name.

FF: Exactly. But it’s gonna be more than that. We’re gonna have a filmography and biography, pictures, and screen caps and all the good stuff that the fans might want to go to, but there will be a very strong focus on “This is the child we are sponsoring this year and here’s how you can help.”

GA: Excellent.

Ferreira Fest 26 - The Birthday Edition, Part 3

Interview with Greg Allen, continued, plus Q&A with Louis



GA: I’ve got to ask you how you got interested in this whole thing. How you selected Louis as the person to support?

 
FF: Oh, my God. You know what, Louis has been in my life so long I don’t even know how it started. I mean I look at the list of movies that he’s done, and I was like, “Yeah, I remember watching it, I remember”, but I don’t know what order I saw them in, because I didn’t always see them when they first came out. You know, it is really hard to even pinpoint a date.  

GA: Sure.

FF: But I do remember, “oh, here’s that guy again.” And of course it was in the days before the internet, so it was not easy to find any information about anybody who wasn’t a big name and in the newspapers.

GA: And particularly in Canada.

FF: Yes. Well, I mean I did live in Canada for a good little bit, but even then it was just like, “Who is this guy?” I knew it was Justin Louis and whenever he showed up, it’s gotta be good. And it’s really fascinating to me. And then once the internet age started rolling around, I was like, “okay, let me look this up. Oh, he did this, I remember seeing that.” And it was just--I don’t even know how, I just sort of came to it, how it started. But when he started being on Stargate Universe, and I saw the first casting calls, I was like – and at that time he was still Justin Louis – and I’m like, “Oh, my God, this is gonna be great!”, and I mean I’ve been a fan of the Stargate franchise anyway, but to have one of my favorite actors join, I mean I was like dying and going to Heaven. And so through that of course I was already involved in the online fandom. And I was like, “Well, I’m just gonna post a set of links to interesting stuff and interviews and whatever else I could find and call it Ferreira Fest, ‘cause it starts with an F, so why not. And maybe just throw it out there and see if people enjoy it. And I got so much overwhelmingly positive feedback, they were just everywhere. And I was like, “Well, I‘ll make it a monthly thing and I we’ll call it an unofficial fan club.” Why not? It’s gonna be a newsletter.

GA: Do you have any idea or any sense of the demographic?

FF: There’s a really wide variety of people but they all appreciate good acting, and the kind of details and nuances he brings to his work. That is what we all pretty much we have in common that we really appreciate the depth he can bring to a character, whether he is the funny guy in Hidden Hills or the guy who cries because he just had to kill a subordinate, like he had in Stargate Universe. I remember just falling apart on the floor, it was—I cried so hard. I have never cried that hard in front of the TV ever in my life.

GA: Actually, I didn’t see too much of that particular program. He did take me out there—sent me out there, last year, I guess.

FF: To Vancouver?

GA: To Vancouver. While they were filming one of the episodes, I spent a couple of days there on the set with him, just watching the whole process. One of the things that struck me was not just how sensitive the performance was, because it was one of those moments, very serious, introspective, sad kind of moment that he was portraying. But as soon as the camera was off, then he was back to being Louis.

FF: Right.

GA: And, you know, bringing together all of the different people who were on the set. Not just the actors, but the sound crew—you know, everybody who was backstage as well as those who were in front of the camera. You could tell that when he was on set, he was bringing people together.

FF: Yes.

GA: I’d seen that before on another of the …. Oh, what was the—I can’t remember the name of it now. It was a couple of years back and he was playing almost a House type of character in a business situation and it was the same sort of thing. I mean he was a tough CEO character, but then as soon as it was off, he was joking with everybody around, just keeping the energy level very high.

FF: Right, right. Well, you read that when other people are being interviewed about their work, whenever they talk about Louis, that’s what they say is how much of a cheerleader he is for the whole cast and crew, and keeping them together, and keeping the mood, the mode of operation light-hearted and just pleasant to be in. And that’s also one of the things that he has emphasized several times when he is working on the set, that the movie communities or the TV communities that he enjoys the most are the ones where there is no ego involved, and where people don’t go or aren’t full of themselves, basically, really enjoy the work for the work’s sake and not because, oh, they are famous or something.

GA: Exactly.

FF: And he said that’s what he said he really liked about NCIS, because that was the kind of atmosphere on the set there, and he really appreciated that.

GA: That is what he told me about it as well. I just thought about a funny little episode while he was working on Stargate. The day after he did that shoot, he was going to do voiceover work, some looping, which was a process which I hadn’t seen done before, so I was fascinated with that. So he went in and they showed him the clip that he had to redub, and he said, “yeah, fine, ready to go” and the guy started the tape telling him to come in, and then Louis started delivering the line and it was in perfect sync of course, but it was Jimmy Stewart’s voice we were hearing.

FF: Oh, my…

GA: And of course, we all broke up, because it was a very good Jimmy Stewart. And they stopped, and backed it up and did it again, and I don’t remember whose voice he used the second time (laughs), it was another actor from the past, but it was just very very funny. And then - enough. You play, get the joke out of the way, and then on the third time he did it and he was perfect—letter perfect—in the Stargate voice that he needed to use. You know, able to play around and have fun with it, and at the same time bring it back to getting the job done.

FF: When you need to be able to concentrate and just nailing it.

GA: Yeah.

FF: Yes, absolutely.  All right, well, thank you so much, Greg…

GA: You’re welcome.

FF: This was just fantastic. I’m just--as I said, I am so thrilled to be talking to you about him, because obviously we both admire him and his work and everything, and to me it is just a real thrill to speak to a kindred spirit really. Thank you. Thank you so much, Greg.

GA: Sure thing.

FF: Good night, bye-bye.

GA: Good night.

******************************
Please do not repost without permission.

Notes:

For those of you who are not familiar with Elmer the Safety Elephant: Elmer teaches small children how to stay safe in traffic. The mascot is credited with drastically lowering child fatalities in Canada. I spoke to Mr. Allen specifically about it last week but didn't have a chance to record it. Elmer was one of Louis' first acting gigs right out of High School. He travelled from school to school educating children on how to safely cross the street, always look left and right etc. Mr. Allen recalls driving across town at the end of the day on many occasions to collect Louis from a school he'd been performing at, and then driving home with an elephant in his car...


ASK LOUIS - Your Questions Answered

Characters after the fact

Q: Do you ever think about what happens to a character after the episode is over? Someone wanted to know what you think might have happened to Michael Mueller, the character you played on ER.

LF: I think in the actual… when you’re doing a part, your truth becomes the journey that you have on the page and that’s my story and that’s why when you have a series you get to explore the idea of an arc. When you’re doing a guest spot, for the most part, unless you’re called back or they create something more with it it pretty much ends where it ends, you know. I mean, I could have speculated, I think that he would have probably gotten some help and probably... who knows? I mean he might have stayed in that relationship just because he could have been very much a co-dependent at that point. But I don’t really know.

Listen to the sound clip here.



***

Fencing Scenes in Highlander

Q: In the Highlander episode "Leader of the Pack", did you do all the fencing yourself?

LF: I did all the fencing. I practiced for, I think, a couple of days, we had to practice and I found a sword that was a – initially they wanted me to have one of these huge heavy blades and I was like, this is not gonna work for me, I mean this is like insane, so I had a rapier, and that was really – it was a good fit for me, and we rehearsed for a couple of days and I did all the fencing myself, and I actually quite enjoyed it. Adrian Paul, the lead of that show, was very well rehearsed and practiced in fencing, so he enjoyed those fights, so our job was always sort of as the guest artist I was told that he looks forward to the duel, and so, you know, it was fun, I enjoyed that process very much.

FF: So you had a fencing coach for that specifically?

LF: Yeah, they had a guy on set, he was the stunt coordinator-slash-fight coordinator.

FF: Do you still fence occasionally or was that a one time thing for you?

LF: No, that was a one time thing.

Listen to the sound clip here.



***

About Duke The Movie

LF: It’s a pretty small role I did because he (Carmine Giovinazzo, the producer) is my buddy, but saying that I have seen my scene, and I – the three or four scenes and the moments that I’m in I was very happy with. It’s a dark character, I play a prison guard who’s obviously very abusive with the kids in the home but you never see anything traumatic, it’s implied, but the scenes I had were pretty strong so I enjoyed that. 

Listen to the sound clip here.



***

On choosing roles

FF: What is your process for choosing a role? Let’s say you had several of them line up, just hypothetically. Do you prefer TV series o movies or is that even a question for you?

LF: Oh, it all – the process for me is, and that’s not where I’m at right now – I’m actually at a new beginning because of the name and all, which is all wonderful… It’s always about the role. What does it say, you know, what does the role have to, what’s the story about it… is there something interesting in that, so that’s ideally the best situation for me, you know – the role itself.

FF: Whether it means something to you?

LF: Yeah. I like roles that have a message – it can be a message that’s not your typical message, it doesn’t have to be a great message; when I played the serial killer in Durham County, that wasn’t a good message but I really felt because it was a feminist view of serial killing, written, directed, edited, produced by women, in a way I got to expose a lot of the qualities that men portray that women fall for that are unhealthy, and so I got to basically exploit, that for me was an opportunity to show the charismatic guy, the bad boy, the sort of reformed rebel, all of those things that women tend to be drawn to sometimes and that are unhealthy, and so I didn’t see it as a bad role, but more as I was contributing to a bigger picture. So if that makes sense, that’s how I sort of like to approach things. I mean, even the NCIS, when they offered it to me, and it was just an offer I read, and I was like wow, this is about a man who loves his partner so much that he can’t really fathom moving forward without her. And you know, that’s not your typical thing, right?

FF: And especially the role – being a homicide detective himself…

LF: Exactly, and we’re supposed to be able to be able to bounce back, you know, get back on the horse and I was like, I’m not gonna get on the horse, he’s gonna be broken the entire time, which is a gamble, you know? It would have been easy for me to play him very likable, okay, you know, and so it was neat to explore that, and I liked that message, that love is the most powerful emotion that we feel and have, and we’re afraid of it and we’re scared of it, and certainly it hurts like hell when it doesn’t go your way, but at the same time it’s that whole thing – better to have loved and never… to not at all, you know what that expression is… better to have failed and loved, or whatever…

FF: Loved and lost than never have loved at all…

LF: That’s right. I’m sorry, I’m starting to get tired. (laughs)

Listen to the clip here.



***

On recent movies:

LF: Again, what a weird choice, but we went to see over the holidays “We Bought a Zoo” with Matt Damon – I absolutely loved it. It resonated with me because it was about, again, the love of a man that he has for his partner and wife and he loses her… just the humanity of the story, and who he was as a father, and the whole concept of … you know, I just thought it was a beautiful movie. So I love films like that. What else did I watch? I’ve seen some good ones. I loved The Descendents, I thought that was very very good. I loved The Artist, I thought it was genius. Iron Lady was very very good, so this is the films that I – I’m specifically talking about the Oscar films right now… I tend to like films that really tug and the heart or say something or are just hilarious. I’m all over the place, it’s like music, I love all types of music, depending on what mood you’re in, there’s always something. It’s like food, right, sometimes you feel for this, sometimes you feel for that, and in the genre, whatever you feel for, there’s great delicious food everywhere. That’s how I see it.

Listen to the clip here.



***

On live theatre

FF: Have you done any live theatre since high school?

LF: Yeah, when I was 26, I think, I did “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, in Toronto, and I played McMurphy, which was the Jack Nicholson role, I got amazing reviews and it was a wonderful experience in every way and I loved being on stage, as hard as it was but it was an intense, intense role. When you play such an iconic role like that, I felt very privileged for the opportunity and so it was one of those awesome moments of my career where I was like, wow, and I had the headliner, I had that thing on the outside on the street “Justin Louis from CBC’s Urban Angel in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, and I was (laughs), I’m the kid who grew up on welfare with his mom – that’s pretty awesome!
 
Listen to the clip here.



***

And finally, a message from Louis for all Fereira Fest Party Guests:

LF: Well, my only thought is, because it’s sort of like my birthday month, I would love to extend my birthday wishes to all, and once again just say thank you in humbleness and gratitude, and I’d love to wish everyone – because I obviously don’t know dates – when their birthdays do arrive, I’d love to say Happy New Year, because to me it sort of signifies your new year, so it will be my 46th year, and I wish everyone a happy new year whenever their birthday comes up, so… and (thanks) again for all the love and support and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to participate, and looking forward to having some really good times and fun times in the near future.

Listen to the clip here.



***

That's it for this month - thanks for sticking around to the end!

Stay tuned for Ferreira Fest 27 in March which will feature all of Louis' pets... Please remember to leave your questions for Louis at the Q&A post (link is always in the upper left hand corner of the page).

See you all in March!

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